GT’s Radar has taken a swipe at Australian media over its relentless coverage of Qantas’s turnbacks over the past month.

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GT’s Radar points out that the statistics from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau tell a different story.

While formal figures for January are yet to be released, in 2022 there were 2,273 incidents involving Commercial Air Transport Aircraft with bird strikes which numbered 926 the largest single issue.

Of those 126 were in Western Australia, mostly in the North-West.

Next came Technical at 697 and then Operational with 684.

Technical is typically on the ground and just requires the replacement of a part, while operational is usually in flight.

Balancing those numbers are the number of domestic and international flights in Australian airspace which were just over 800,000 last year which translates into one incident every 351 flights.

Most incidents are minor in nature and could be as simple as a mix-up in air-to-air communication or faulty paperwork.

However, every incident, no matter how minor, is reported in Australia.

The number of incidents has been in decline despite the number of flights increasing.

Ten years ago, there were just over 4,000 incidents.

Bringing the numbers into a Western Australian context there were 133 incidents in 2022 according to the ATSB and the biggest single issue was warning lights at 37, most of which turned out to be faulty lights, not the actual aircraft system.

Next was fumes at 29, mostly relating to engine or galley smells. None were serious.

Taking a global perspective per year there are 43 million flights and 10,000 turnbacks.

On average Qantas mainline has on average 60 a year which is just over one a week. During the past six weeks, Qantas has suffered about 8 turnbacks but there was almost no coverage of the other 15 involving other domestic airlines and international carriers in Australia.

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